Operation Samudra Setu II in full swing: Three Indian warships arrive with medical equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic

Published : May 10, 2021 21:57 IST

INS Airawat carrying a shipment of cryogenic oxygen tanks and other critical COVID medical equipment docks in Visakhapatnam, on May 10. Photo: PTI

Three Indian Naval warships loaded with medical equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including cryogenic oxygen tanks, oxygen cylinders, Rapid Antigen Test kits, oxygen concentrators and personal protection equipment docked at three different ports on May 10. While the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat docked at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, INS Kolkata and INS Trikand berthed at New Mangalore, Karnataka, and Mumbai, Maharashtra, respectively.

The three warships are part of the flotilla of nine vessels that the Navy has deployed for use in the ongoing COVID-19 relief operations, code-named Operation Samudra Setu II. The operation is intended to augment India’s badly needed medical supplies by transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and other associated medical equipment from friendly foreign countries, both in the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia.

INS Airavat, which set sail from Singapore on May 5, arrived at Visakhapatnam with eight empty 20-tonne cryogenic oxygen tanks, 3,150 empty oxygen cylinders, 500 filled oxygen cylinders, seven oxygen concentrators, 10,000 Rapid Antigen Test kits and 450 PPE kits. Officials in the Ministry of Defence pointed out that the oxygen tanks and cylinders had been sourced through various agencies in coordination with the High Commission of India in Singapore. Officials also said that the medical supplies on board the INS Airavat was probably the largest consignment in a single platform.

INS Kolkata, which arrived at New Mangalore, Karnataka, was carrying two 27-tonne oxygen filled containers, 400 oxygen cylinders, two containers of 30 tonnes each of LMO and 47 oxygen concentrators from Qatar and Kuwait. The ship had embarked from Port Shuwaikh in Kuwait on May 5.

INS Trikand was deployed to augment the shipment of LMO cryogenic containers from Qatar’s Hamad Port to Mumbai. The ship left Qatar on May 5 with 40 tonnes of LMO. The ship’s consignment is part of the French mission “Oxygen Solidarity Bridge” to support India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials pointed out that the Indo-French initiative, facilitated by Dr Deepak Mittal, Ambassador of India in Qatar, is likely to transship over 600 tonnes of LMO to India over the next two months.

Meanwhile, South Korea has also sent a consignment of medical supplies including 230 oxygen concentrators, 200 oxygen cylinders with regulators and 100 negative pressure isolation stretchers. The Korean shipment arrived on May 9, with a similar shipment slated for arrival on May 12.

According to an official statement issued by the Embassy of South Korea in New Delhi, these two consignments of medical items account for around 20 per cent of the medical support the South Korean government has proposed for India. A statement from Shin Bongkil, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India said: “The Korean government will continue to work closely with the Indian government in responding to the unfolding challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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